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Gabsten Technologies is an established data management consulting company, based in Johannesburg, South Africa

Your guide to a sound and secure data management strategy

Your guide to a sound and secure data management strategy
11 Sep 2020

There’s no honour amongst thieves; an adage that couldn’t be truer in current times where unscrupulous cybercriminals target vulnerable organisations that are scrambling to find some form of operational normalcy amidst pandemic related protocols and regulations.

With a significant amount of critical information such as production data being moved into the cloud, it has added a layer of vulnerability to companies’ security posture.  Moreover, it has created a case for a sound data management strategy that will ensure your data will be safe with minimum disruption to your operations when a security attack does take place.

Unfortunately, it remains a grudge purchase, despite the benefits that come with a data protection strategy that incorporates resilient and intuitive data backup, replication and recovery.  Some businesses simply don’t want to make the investment and choose to ignore the potential consequences.

Also, there is the perception that if organisational data resides in the cloud it’s in a safe bubble, impervious to any potential attacks.  Not true; your organisation is still vulnerable to ransomware or viruses, particularly as more users access your cloud-based data.


One step at a time

So where to begin?  How do you overcome this seemingly daunting task of implementing a data protection strategy that will safeguard your operations?  First, you need to take one step back and assess what it is that you want to protect?  Second, is the data protection solution within budget and does it extend to include replication to a secondary site which incorporates tape backup for example?  Third, how much downtime can the organisation afford if any?  In the case of critical production data, the backup and recovery of data needs to be swift and seamless.


The best option

Currently, there are a number of options available that will enable organisations to implement a sound and resilient data management strategy.

Synchronous replication offers quick recovery as it provides almost simultaneous writing of multiple copies of data. Essentially, once a primary site’s cache limit is reached the data is written to a secondary site.  On receipt, the second site then sends an acknowledgement to primary site host.

Asynchronous replication adds an additional stage by acknowledging the host at the primary site when the data is written. The written data is then sent to second site which sends back a confirmation to the primary site. The benefit of asynchronous replication is that it is found in a wider range of storage products such as Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) storage and Network-Attached Storage (NAS).

Often companies opt for a combination of synchronous and asynchronous replication; the first is used for critical data that needs to be recovered quickly while the latter is used for less time sensitive data.

Similarly, some businesses implement a hybrid system with critical data stored on site and replicated to a secondary site while less important data replicated and backed up to one or multiple cloud service providers.

Ultimately, organisations must take a long hard look at their data management strategy, find the right IT partner, and implement a solution that is tailored to their business needs while protecting their valuable data assets.